On May 5, 2017 President Trump approved the bipartisan Congressional spending bill that will continue to fund the U.S. government through September 30, 2017. Despite concerns over a potential termination or amendment of the popular EB-5 Visa Regional Center Program, Congress has agreed to extend the program cleanly through the conclusion of the 2017 fiscal year. Despite significant opposition from prominent Republican and Democratic legislators, Congress agreed to extend the program without any changes through September though challenges still remain for the EB-5 visa program even during that period.
Minimum Investment Amount Remains at Issue
Although the Congressional action allows the program to survive for another five months, proposed regulations from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which would significantly increase the minimum investment levels and restrict the definition of Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) remain outstanding. On January 13, 2017, DHS issued the proposed “EB-5 Modernization Rule” which mandated an increase in the minimum investment threshold from $500,000 to $1,350,000 for investments in TEAs and from $1,000,000 to $1,800,000 for investments in non-qualifying areas. Additionally, the regulation would significantly restrict and redefine the designation of TEAs to geographically limit Regional Center projects. The re-authorization of the Regional Center Program does not have any effect on this proposed Agency regulation. In fact, speculation persisted that Congress was comfortable extending the program at the moment because the impending DHS regulations would force significant change to the program. The time frame for public comment on the proposed regulation ended on April 11, 2017. Presently, DHS is mulling over any potential changes to the regulation with a final rule likely to go into effect sometime in the late summer or early fall of 2017.
Considerations for Investors Before the EB-5 Regional Center Program Expires in September 2017
Although the EB-5 Regional Center program has been a clear target of significant reform measures over the last three years, the program has survived largely due to its success in spurring economic growth and creating jobs for U.S. Citizens. However, the opposition leveled at the bill by Congressional leaders including the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, and the Democratic ranking minority member of the Judiciary, Dianne Feinstein, would appear to indicate that the program is likely to be modified either through Congressional or Agency action in the coming months.
At Colombo & Hurd, we assist investors navigating the ever-changing legislative and regulatory landscape when considering an EB-5 investment. To schedule a confidential consultation at our Orlando or Miami law offices, call 4070478-1111 or 305-455-0590 to speak with one of our attorneys to discuss your EB-5 Visa options.